Since the average catered event involves hundreds of people and thousands of dollars, it only makes sense that event planners want the best possible value, the highest level of professionalism, and the utmost expertise from a caterer. A lot of money is changing hands, and the success of your event is hanging in the balance. You want someone who’s going to give you straight information. You want someone who will find creative ways to solve problems, and who will make things right if you’re not happy. That’s just the nature of a successful catered event—whether it’s a casual company picnic or a full-scale formal wedding reception.
But catering, like any service industry, involves a huge amount of demand and a lot of different companies to fill that demand. Not all of those companies are entirely honest or reputable. There are those who would rather make an extra buck than be completely honest with you. And if you don’t know what to look for, or what questions to ask, you could be their next gullible customer.
Here are five common things your catering company many not be telling you. By knowing what they are, you can out ahead of any possible misunderstandings, and partner more effectively with the catering company of your choice.
1. You don’t need that much food
Running out of food is the worst nightmare of any event planner, and nobody wants it to become a reality at their event. Planners often overcompensate by ordering exorbitant quantities of food and drink. What’s more, there are caterers out there who allow this. Why? Because it means they can charge more. A quality caterer will always help you find the right amount of food and drink, while keeping your costs as low as possible.
2. Table service is costing you
People often don’t realize just how expensive table service can be — or how much they can save by going “buffet style” instead. Of course, there are events for which table service is entirely appropriate. But professionals should always advice how much that table service is costing them. Putting different options on the table is the hallmark of a great caterer.
3. Your menu isn’t balanced
There’s nothing worse than a catering company who simply jots down what the client says, nods, and produces the menu as ordered. The best caterers are interested in the ultimate success of the events they cater. That’s why they always make meaningful suggestions pertaining to the menu, backed up by simple explanations and years of catering know-how.
Is your caterer giving it to you straight?
Getting the most accurate and honest information from your caterer shouldn’t be that hard. The bad news is that there are certain catering companies out there who can negatively affect your event by failing to deliver a truly professional service. The good news? There are also plenty of reputable caterers who will lay all the cards on the table. These are the caterers who will be honest about how to achieve the best possible success—and the greatest possible value—for your event.